What is impetigo?

Impetigo is one of the common types of skin infections, mostly occurring in children.

Injuring skin wounds or scratching where you have been bitten by an insect may allow the bacteria that cause impetigo to enter your skin.

Bacteria can enter through any skin break. Although most wounds or insect stings are visible to the human eye, it is possible for bacteria to enter through very small, even microscopic, wounds on the skin.

After penetrating the inner layers of the skin, the impetigo bacteria begin to grow and multiply, resulting in small blisters forming on the skin.

The small blisters are initially filled with clear fluid. Subsequently, the fluid acquires the appearance of a thin purulent fluid, as it darkens.

What are the symptoms of impetigo?

Impetigo looks like a rash that can appear anywhere on the surface of the skin, but most commonly affects the face and other skin areas that are not normally covered by the clothes.

The disease may start with reddening of the skin in the areas where the blisters will appear, but it is also possible for them to form directly on skin of normal color.

The blisters are initially clear liquid, which darkens after a few days.

After a few more days, the blisters burst and crusts appear in their place, like a bruise, and the skin underneath is red.

Usually, the edges of pus bubbles are sharply pointed. The rash is slightly painful to the touch and often itchy.

What causes it?

The main culprits of impetigo are two types of bacteria – staphylococci and streptococci. These microorganisms are part of the usual bacterial flora that is found on the surface of every person’s skin.

However, they can become the cause of infection when the skin barrier is broken due to an injury, the presence of injured areas or other situations that contribute to their penetration into the depths of the skin.

Staphylococcus and Streptococcus are widespread in the environment, including in soil, water, objects and surfaces.

They have the ability to withstand different conditions and reproduce quickly. When the opportunity arises, they settle in the damaged skin and cause symptoms of impetigo.

Treatment of impetigo

Impetigo is an easily treatable disease and in most cases our immune system will deal with it on its own. Very rarely, it is possible to develop a complication such as inflammation of the kidneys.

The complication is the result of the complex immune reaction upon exposure to the causative bacteria.

If the blisters appear in more places on the skin or become more painful, or if you notice any other deterioration in your condition, do not hesitate to seek medical attention.

In the event of an injury or sting, always wash the affected skin with antibacterial soap and water. Do not scratch and try to remove the scabs with your hand.

The disease is contagious, so other family members can get impetigo if they come into contact with you. To avoid it, use separate hand and body towels.

In most cases, the rash and infection will heal on their own and go away in 5-6 days, but sometimes antibiotics are needed to deal with the infection.

You can also apply antibacterial ointment to the areas of the rash, but you should wash your hands very well, especially after applying the ointment.

If the blisters are in areas where you shave, you should do so very carefully so as not to injure the rash and at the same time not spread the bacteria.

How to protect yourself from impetigo?

To effectively protect yourself from impetigo, several important steps are needed to keep your skin healthy and reduce the risk of infection.

  1. Avoid contact with infected persons: One of the most basic measures to prevent the spread of impetigo is to avoid close contact with people who are sick with this disease. The infection can spread through touch, sharing personal items, clothing or bedding. It is important to be careful and avoid close contact with infected persons until they recover.

  2. Keep your skin clean and dry: Regular skin hygiene is extremely important to prevent impetigo. Wash your skin with gentle cleansers that don’t irritate or over-dry the skin. Pay particular attention to areas that are subject to pressure and friction, such as between the fingers and under the arms.

  3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: A strong immune system can help protect against many infections, including impetigo. Maintain a balanced diet, regular physical activity and good hydration to support your immune system.

By following these tips and maintaining careful skin hygiene, you will reduce your risk of impetigo and other similar infections.

In case of any suspicion of a skin infection, it is important to seek medical advice in order to receive the correct treatment and care.

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